The Pittsburgh Penguins (11-8-3) are hoping to rebound from their first loss in six games when they host the Carolina Hurricanes (11-6-5) on Tuesday as small home favorites in a key Metropolitan Division matchup.
The Penguins saw their season-high five-game win streak come to an end with a 4-1 home loss as -130 favorites last Saturday to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are the only team to beat them since November 12. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are coming off their first win in six games on Saturday following a season-high five-game losing skid.
Hurricanes vs Penguins Sportsbook Odds
The moneyline on this divisional game was down closer to a pick’em as of late Monday after Sportsbook with Pittsburgh as small chalk. The total has also dropped down a half-goal to 6, which is somewhat significant considering most NHL totals usually just see the juice move toward the OVER or UNDER depending on what bettors prefer to wager on.
Carolina has not seen more than five goals scored in any of its last three games, and there have been more than five only once in the team’s past eight. Pittsburgh has seen five goals or less scored in each of its past three games along with four of its last five.
Raanta Helps Hurricanes Get Off The Schneid With Solid Effort
With regular starting goaltender Frederik Andersen out since November 6 due to a lower-body injury, 23-year-old Russian Pyotr Kochetkov (2-1-3, 2.33 goals-against average) has taken over the leading role for six of the last 10 games. Unfortunately for Kochetkov and his teammates, he suffered all three overtime losses during the recent skid.
But fortunately, 33-year-old veteran netminder Antti Raanta (4-2-2, 2.47) stepped up in the team’s last game, stopping 18 of 20 shots to end the losing streak and put the Hurricanes ahead of the Penguins in the Metro standings. Both goalies have put together solid numbers to keep the Hurricanes competitive lately even in their losses, which is a positive sign.
DeSmith Looks Like Weak Link for Pittsburgh in Starts
Backup goalies are backups for a reason, but they are obviously essential for NHL teams over an 82-game schedule to spell starters from time to time. Casey DeSmith inked a two-year contract extension with the Penguins in the offseason after posting good numbers as Tristan Jarry’s backup a year ago, although that has not carried over to this season yet. DeSmith has gone 3-5-1 in his nine starts to go along with a 3.00 GAA.
While the latter is not terrible, he is not getting the same kind of offensive support from his teammates, who have scored two or less in five of his nine starts, losing all of them. They have scored four goals or more in all of his three wins, while Jarry (8-3-2, 2.91) has seen Pittsburgh light the lamp six times in five of his eight wins. That is quite a difference and should be considered.
Hurricanes: Keys To Victory
Carolina’s main key to winning this divisional matchup is clear – scoring. The Hurricanes cannot manage to score two goals or less here and expect to pick up two points for a victory. They are 8-0-1 in their last nine games when scoring three goals or more.
Penguins: Keys To Victory
Unlike its opponent, scoring has not been a problem for Pittsburgh. Keeping the puck out of the net has been the issue, which is why the team still has a winning record despite having two goalies that possess goals-against averages over 2.90. It is no coincidence that the Penguins are 8-0 this year when holding foes to two goals or less, so that is their key in this spot.
NHL Computer Pick: Penguins -120 ML
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